Dec. 4, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Four years before his fatal shooting during a Taylorsville gunfight with police, Anei Gabriel Joker had another violent encounter with an officer that left him with a bullet wound.
That first shooting came in 2017, when Joker was 16, and was fired on by a Cottonwood Heights officer who believed Joker was reaching for a gun following a high-speed pursuit and a brief foot case.
Joker died on Wednesday at age 20. He was wanted in connection with a rape and robbery, and police found him inside a parked vehicle outside a 7-Eleven.
“The suspect in this case was a wanted party, for various violent felonies,” West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs said in a press conference Thursday morning.
“The detectives involved in this incident were specifically looking for this individual. They were able to locate him at the 7-Eleven at 4100 South and Redwood.”
Joker was inside a vehicle with a 9-month-old boy and his parents, according to police reports. Officers talked Joker into releasing the hostages.
“Once the baby was safe from harm’s way, negotiations continued with the suspect,” Jacobs said at a news Conference. “At some point, as you can see from the video that’s been aired, pepper balls were projected into the vehicle in an attempt to encourage the suspect to come out. After a period of time, he did come out of the vehicle, firing a weapon.”
Joker died at the hospital, police said. Two officers hit by bullets are recovering. One, from the Unified Police Department, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. The other, from the West Valley City Police Department, was shot in the left shoulder and left leg, and at last report remained hospitalized after two surgeries.
Joker’s 2017 incident
On Sept. 3, 2017, a juvenile Joker and another teenager were trying to outrun pursuing officers after an attempted traffic stop. Joker, the driver, reported reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. When he tried to exit Interstate 15 near 1300 south, the car went out of control and crashed, and the teens fled on foot.
A Cottonwood Heights officer caught up with Joker under an overpass, and ordered him multiple times drop to the ground, adding “Get on the ground or I’ll shoot you!”
Joker lowered his body, but made an abrupt arm movement which brought his hand close to his waistband, an action that can be seen in the age-restricted Cottonwood Heights body camera video linked below.
When Joker did not immediately comply, the officer shot Joker in the abdomen. The suspect was transported to a hospital for surgery. A search that followed revealed Joker had a revolver in his pants. Salt Lake County District Attorney ruled the shooting justified.
Joker’s criminal record continued to grow as he aged into an adult suspect.
The following cases are part of record in adult courts:
- Aug. 12, 2021: Fugitive from justice warrant issued
- Jan. 17, 2021 case: charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony amended to second (guilty); and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony (dismissed with prejudice).
- Oct. 29, 2020 case: Third-degree felony discharge of a firearm, amended to class A misdemeanor (guilty).
- April 26, 2020 case: Failure to stop at command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor (guilty); giving false personal identity to peace officer, a class C misdemeanor (dismissed with prejudice).
- Feb. 9, 2020 case: Failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony, speeding, an infraction, no valid license (never obtained), (all dismissed with prejudice).
- March 19,2020 case: Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony (guilty).
- March 14, 2020 case: Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony (dismissed without prejudice).
The photos immediately below are from Gephardt Daily’s coverage of the 2017 incident.
The photos that follow are from Gephardt Daily’s coverage of the Dec. 2, 2021 fatal incident.